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Soaring lawsuits test Chinese judges

BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The public have rushed to file for legal action following revisions to the way in which lawsuits are filed last month, putting the ability of judges to improve judicial efficiency to the test.

In the last month, China has seen a 29 percent increase of lawsuits filed, according to Sun Jungong, spokesman of the Supreme People's Court (SPC).

He said that after the courts changed their filing procedure from accreditation to registration on May 1, it was much easier for the public to file cases.

Courts now accept cases immediately as long as they meet certain basic requirements. Sun said that 90 percent of lawsuits are now filed on the spot.

The revisions have placed more pressure on judges, some have even left their positions thanks, in part, to another measure on the recruitment of competent judges and prosecutors.

Disputes lodged include land expropriation, housing demolition, enterprise ownership transfer and property services. The filing of administrative cases alone have seen a dramatic increase of 221 percent.

The courts have also seen their fair share of weird lawsuits. Gan Wen, a senior judge with the SPC, said a man in Shanghai filed a lawsuit against a famous actress for "staring at me" from the television.

Gan said the filing procedure revisions would improve the judicial system and ensure efficiency, while the recruitment reform will professionalize the judiciary.

"Some judges will complain of feeling overwhelmed if they hear 400 cases a year, but in other countries, annually judges deal with as many as 3,000 and see it as no big deal," said Gan.

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